It takes a great many dedicated people to support UAB’s $1 billion fundraising campaign and maintain relationships that promote giving and reassure the givers. Melanie Armstrong, who provides critical support to development officers and meaningful reports to UAB donors, is among them.
Incredible, exemplary and professional are just a few of the adjectives colleagues use to describe Armstrong, assistant director for Stewardship and Donor Relations for the Office of the Vice President for Development and Alumni. Positive, spirited and energetic also pop up frequently, and for these traits and many others, she was nominated and selected UAB’s Employee of the Month for March.
“We’re the thank-you people,” is the way Armstrong describes her work. She provides recognition for donors and keeps them informed about the advances in research, scholarship and patient care and the accomplishments of students their gifts support. “It’s mostly telling them, ‘Look at the wonderful things we’re doing because you invested in UAB,’” she said. “I’m pretty much a walking UAB commercial.”
And her own life reflects it.
Armstrong worked in the UAB Development Office as a student assistant before leaving school briefly, but she returned in 2005 when her supervisor Daphne Powell offered her a full-time position. She’s since completed her undergraduate degree and is pursuing graduate studies in public administration and expects to receive her master’s degree next May.
Her plans: To continue telling the story of UAB.
Armstrong loves her work, though it’s not without its challenges. “There’s lots of it,” she said. “I’m very busy communicating with donors and assisting development officers with the many things that are happening. Which is not a bad thing,” she said.
She recently has had the opportunity to sit on a committee that is recruiting and awarding some of the university’s top endowed scholarships. It gives her a chance to see the students she will report on “on the front end, when they’re new and fresh. It’s all very exciting,” she said.
“Melanie is a wonderful individual with strong character who is reliable, dedicated and trustworthy,” said Powell, senior director of Stewardship and Donor Relations. “She has reached out to peer institutions to ensure UAB's donor-reporting efforts are in line with other organizations and also set the standard for donor-reporting in our industry.”
|Each month, UAB recognizes an outstanding employee for their dedication, hard work and contributions to the university’s success. If you know of a great employee, you can learn how to nominate them for this recognition at uab.edu/humanresources.|
Armstrong also is described as a colleague who genuinely cares about the people she works with, and goes out of her way to help someone with a project and mentor others. “She is someone we can all count on, and everyone in the stewardship office knows this,” said Megan Montgomery, who worked in Advancement Services before joining the School of Nursing this past month. “She is our rock.”
Her presence is felt throughout the university and greatly appreciated, says Michelle Hussey, assistant vice president for Advancement Services. “In addition to her critical role within the Development & Alumni Relations area, she interacts and touches virtually every area of campus dealing with internal and external constituents and does so with great institutional knowledge and a smile on her face,” Hussey said.
Lori Green, director of development for the School of Education, calls Armstrong’s work exemplary. “Through Melanie's innovation and creativity, UAB has developed strong stewardship tools to assist the development team with their fundraising efforts, and her work captures meaningful impact to help generate continued support for our students, faculty, researchers, programs and projects,” Green said.
“When it comes to all things stewardship-related, Melanie is my go-to gal,” said Victoria Allen, director of Development and External Relations for the School of Engineering. “She is a team player in the truest sense of the word — always working together with you to accomplish the task at hand.”
UAB benefits tenfold from her professionalism and dependability, says Cappy Ratcliffe, event specialist in the School of Medicine. “On paper, Melanie is the perfect candidate for this award. She is credentialed, has good work experience and will have ample support from those who know her.
“But in reality — in person — Melanie is even more deserving of recognition for the way she conducts herself at work, interacts with others, serves UAB and makes a difference in her job. She loves UAB, she understands our mission, and she works with integrity and humility.”
Armstrong is quick to note the support that others have provided her during the past 11 years, and she says their praise is very humbling and quite special.
“We are a great team,” she said. “That’s the reason we’re successful.”